Story of the race: Japanese Grand Prix

A round-up of the main talking points from the Japanese Grand Prix, where another engine failure for Ferrari moved Lewis Hamilton closer to the 2017 championship crown.

Shock: Seeing Red Bull take the fight to Mercedes at the end was a genuine surprise. Granted, it's unlikely Mercedes turned the wick of its engine up much once Sebastian Vettel was out of the race, and traffic probably artificially created tension as Max Verstappen closed the gap on Lewis Hamilton, but it was a far nervier finish than was expected.

Shocker: Sebastian Vettel hitting trouble again was just remarkable. Before the summer break Ferrari looked untouchable at times but the team's championship has unravelled from the moment Vettel collided with Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen in Singapore.

Championship in tatters: At the summer break, we looked set for an absolutely classic title showdown between Hamilton and Vettel. Ferrari's problems at the last three races have been largely self-inflicted and Malaysia prompted a big organisational shake-up from president Sergio Marchionne. This year looked like Ferrari's chance to return to the glory days of the past and the way the team has fallen out of contention might lead to some big changes in the post-season.

Overtake of the day: Max Verstappen's early pass on Sebastian Vettel at the hairpin was fantastic but, given the issues Ferrari retired with, it is clear it was on a car struggling for full power. So this has to go to Kevin Magnussen for his bolshy pass on Felipe Massa at the first sequence of corners, getting his elbows out and forcing past the Williams driver in his charge through the order for points. He's courted controversy this year, but that was aggressive driving done properly.

Palmer signs off: Jolyon Palmer's final race for Renault was something of a damp squib. The Renault looked out of sorts this weekend and a 12th position was all the Englishman had to show for his efforts. The Englishman is being replaced by Carlos Sainz from Austin onwards and his struggles to match the pace of Nico Hulkenberg this weekend is part of the reason why.

Bling bling: When Takuma Sato came to the podium to conduct the post race interviews, something caught Hamilton's attention. "Man you've got some bling!" the race winner said, pointing to the Japense driver's ring. "I need that ring!"

The ring in question? Oh, just Sato's 2017 Indy 500 winners' ring. We're more than happy with you trying to get one in future, Lewis...

2018 - a jive for five? Barring a huge turnaround in the next four races, it's likely Lewis Hamilton will have himself a fourth world championship at some point in 2017. That will put the two finest drivers of their generation on the same amount of titles and, given the strength of both Mercedes and Ferrari, it sets up a tantalising battle in 2018 as one of them would have the chance of moving level with Juan Manuel Fangio's career tally of five -- currently the second-best in F1 history.

Future is bright for Red Bull: Red Bull can be very happy with the way the last few races have gone. Not just from a points' perspective, either.

The team's performances since the summer break have shown a big step forward and it's hard to argue against the strength of the team's chassis. If Renault finds some gains on the performance side of its engine going into 2018, Red Bull is going to be a tough team to beat.

Driver of the day: Max Verstappen won the official 'driver of the day' vote from F1.com and it is hard to argue. When Verstappen has a sniff of a win, or a podium, he is flawless. Esteban Ocon also deserves plaudits for a stellar drive for Force India, but this was another weekend where Verstappen's on-track brilliance stole the headlines.